Lane Street Project: a database of burials.

The northwest edge of Vick Cemetery, from above. Photo courtesy of George E. Freeney Jr.

Before he left for Alabama, George E. Freeney Jr. sent more drone photos of Vick Cemetery. These images spurred me to begin an arduous task I’ve been putting off for a year — trying to figure out who is buried in Vick Cemetery.

As noted before, the City of Wilson has no records of burials or plots sold in Vick. The survey of surviving gravestones that was supposed to have been made when the cemetery was cleared either was never created or has been lost.

The task is further complicated by naming practices. Vick Cemetery was not called Vick Cemetery during its active period. It was “the colored cemetery” or, most confusingly, was lumped with Rountree and Odd Fellows Cemeteries as “Rountree.” Death certificates, though official records, were shockingly imprecise, with most before World War II listing the place of burial simply as “Wilson, N.C.” From 1913 to about World War II, most of these burials would have been in Vick, as it was the city’s public Black cemetery, but we can only make informed guesses.

The database I’ve created draws primarily from grave markers, death certificates, and newspaper obituaries. I am deliberately omitting Rest Haven burials, but the database will necessarily include burials in other Black cemeteries operating in Wilson in the late 1890s and early 1900s, such Oakdale/Oakland/Oaklawn, Rountree, Odd Fellows, and the Masonic cemeteries. If the location of a burial can be firmly identified as one of those cemeteries, my spreadsheet will note it.

For now, data for each burial includes name; whether a gravestone has been found; birth and death dates; confirmed location of grave; death certificate found; place of death; name of undertaker; place of burial as noted on death cert; place of burial as noted in obituary; and notes.

Here’s a peek:

From time to time, I’ll provide updates on the status of the spreadsheet, highlighting anomalies and interesting finds.


  1. Just to be sure that you do know of the Directory of Burials that differentiates btwn many of those in “Rountree” and “Vick” and maybe others (Oddfellows) that the Freeman Museum has a copy of .. ? I have studied it… but haven’t been back lately.

    1. I don’t know of a directory of burials. I donated to Freeman a copy of Joan Howell’s compilation of Rest Haven/Rountree-Vick burials. It’s an admirable work, but perpetuates errors about the identity and ownership of the three cemeteries at the east end of Lane Street. It omits mention of Odd Fellows altogether and assigns burials that are clearly in OF to “Rountree-Vick.” It is also very incomplete, as it includes only burials—mostly in the 1940s and ‘50s—for which the death certificate listed Rountree as place of burial. Vick Cemetery began accepting burials in 1913, and its heyday was probably the 1920s and ‘30s. None of those burials are listed in the book.

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